Prize-winning bulls more suited to factory than breeding, says expert
A cultural change is needed to encourage herdowners to rely more on a breeding index rather than relying on a high level of feeding to estimate the genetic potential of bulls.
That’s according to Doreen Corridan, Munster Cattle Breeding Group who outlined in a recent paper on pedigree bull production in Ireland that this will allow young bull’s time to develop mating ability and finally have enough bull power on farms to allow for the correct ratio of males to females
Corridan outlined that pedigree bulls are purchased in Ireland from 12 to 18 months of age, the majority are purchased privately on farm from the breeder, 10-15pc are sold at sales.
She said in general prices range from €2,000 to €5,000 with a small number of exceptional bulls selling for more than €10,000.
“Usually it is the first prize winners or the champions at the presale show that command the higher prices.
“Often these bulls have been shown throughout the summer at shows as calves from six months of age onwards.
“As pedigree breeding is not a very profitable enterprise (margins are similar to other beef systems in Ireland, without the single farm payment margins of - €150 to + €250 per hectare not including a labour charge), breeders focus on achieving success at the presale shows to maximise their sale price,” Corridan said.
She added that these shows are judged purely on visual looks and the prize winners will have gained in excess of 2kg/day from birth and need to exhibit extreme muscling and a 4-5 fat score for success, many purchasers apply the same criteria when purchasing on farm.